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I would like to learn how to carve wood spirits into walking sticks. At the minimum, what carving tools and sizes will I need to get started? My plan is to start with basswood until I gain some experience. Thanks for any response.
 

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Hi, airborne,

Check out the "Carving Tools: Must Have Carving Tools" thread. There's about 4 pages of discussion.

First thing you need is not a knife, but a carving glove. Or thumb and index finger protectors. It amazing how often those fingers get nicked while carving. Then a smooth stick, and a pencil. Finally, a rather small knife. As I mentioned in the above thread, I started w. a cheap Stanley pocket knife w. a blade that was maybe 1.5" long. When I was a kid, it was just whatever pocket knife I happened to have. Now, most of that kind of carving is done w. a Mora carving knife, a short Flexcut straight edged knife (one of the ones in their starter set) and sometimes an Exacto. You will likely want something to sharpen them with. Little diamond hones work nicely to touch up an edge. I have a 1200 grit ceramic honing rod that doubles as a final finishing surface for the wood itself.

Oh, and someplace w. strong directional light. Nothing brings out relief work like a good raking light.
 

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Here is a good tutorial (and a good site all around) on carving the face.

http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/forum/f69/carving-captain-40446/

As far as getting started, a pocket knife and a branch is technically all you need (all I started with). You learn to feel grain and hardness, learn to get and keep a blade sharp and what it feels like when it isn't (Most accidents happen when you don't have a sharp blade as you have to exert more force) but as gdenby stated, that thread is a great place for info.
 
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